You know it’s definitely holiday season when the media business pages start reeking of positivity. The good vibes were started when new Bank of England governor, Mark Carney, issued his debut major briefing earlier this week. Economic growth is strengthening and interest rates will stay low. Not only did Carney lift many economic spirits, he also earned himself a few extra business brownie points when he vowed to create 750,000 jobs and “grow top female economists all the way through the ranks”.
Whatever the reason – be it the balmy weather, the birth of a royal baby or simply the realisation that the Metropolitan Line now comes with air-con – the feeling in the business world appears to be on the up. Here are a few of this week’s success stories.
Providing it is on-par with brand values, one way to thrive in this financial climate is by diversification – and brands have been very busy diversifying this month. It seems that consumer desire for experiential and authentic shopping is one trend that’s encouraging brands to broaden their horizons.
One brand that has got it right is Louis Vuitton; the luxury fashion retailer this month announced the acquisition of its first hotel. It’s not the first high-end brand to venture into hospitality – Versace, Armani and Roberto Cavalli have all been there – but the way it handled its announcement couldn’t have been better. Not only did the comms team time it right – in the middle of holiday season – it also managed to get clear strategic reasons for its latest venture across via media. Company boss Bernard Arnault, is “accelerating his push to meet all his well-heeled clients’ earthly needs,” Bloomberg informed its readers.
Consumer desire to buy local produce and turn shopping into an experience led Waitrose to open its own farm shop – another brilliant example of appropriate diversification. It’s an inventive move, completely on-brand and perfectly communicates the grocery retailer’s values of selling fairly-sourced, high quality food. Waitrose’s PRs ensured that media messaging around the company’s latest venture stayed positive; they showed they were also on-the-ball when they successfully got The Guardian to issue a correction following publication of an article attributing the opening of the farm to regaining trust lost during the horsemeat scandal.
Closely linked to the hospitality industry is travel. British Airways – a company once loathed by the media thanks to its perpetual union strikes – has picked itself right back up. Its highly anticipated Dreamliner plane took off for its inaugural flight this week. And as a thank you to the 11,000 staff in the Rolls-Royce site in Derbyshire – who helped design and build the plane – BA arranged a special fly-past.
A bold and very public display, the fly-past was possibly initiated to let the world know that relations between bosses and staff at BA are now ok. As internal relations were the issue that earned the company its once despised reputation among consumers, this gesture was a very smart thing to do.
It may have long since been introduced in countries such as Angola and Uganda, but the uber-fast 4G is now about to come to the UK – and telecoms providers are falling over each other to be at the forefront of the launch. Competitor EE may be the company that will have the most coverage by the end of the year, but it’s Vodafone that’s winning the comms race; the company’s smart decision to tie in its launch of 4G with the start of the football season was PR gold. EE’s “selling point” is coverage and speed – but, for customers, surely that’s a given? And, slow off the mark, O2 is yet to announce its own USP. By teaming up with Sky Sports and Spotify to give the nation more of what it loves most – football and music – Vodafone put itself firmly ahead of the pack. The perfect combination, the perfect timing – and an important telecoms milestone of which it can claim ownership
The B2B PR Blog is a resource for both PR professionals and people working in B2B industries on how to devise and implement successful B2B PR campaigns. The blog was founded by B2B PR specialist Heather Baker, who runs video production and corporate animation agency TopLine Film and digital PR and SEO agency TopLine Comms. The B2B PR Blog takes contributions from sensible industry folk with something interesting to say.
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